Marketing / Teams


Student value

Author Jessica Haley, University of San Francisco

Posted: October 11, 2016

Tagged: college / value

Joni Smoller, Assistant Athletic Director of Fan Experience and Sales at Kansas State University and President of the National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administrators (NACMA), is a well-established and effective sport marketer. Smoller has a demonstrated understanding of the importance of offering an effective value proposition, which has undoubtedly attributed to her success in the positions she holds. Smoller also has a demonstrated ability to effectively manage multiple leveraging activities to engage fans by manipulating both experience and delivery variables. By manipulating various experience and delivery variables, overall acquisition value is increased.

Marketers who are most successful are those who can create value. Marketers who can establish and maintain value “enjoy a competitive advantage over other providers” (McCarville & Stinson, 2014, p. 53). McCarville & Stinson (2014) state that marketers create strategies using a value proposition, which details how the marketer plans to fulfill the consumer’s desire. Smoller is using this concept of value proposition to add value to a variety of collegiate organizations, thereby giving them a competitive advantage. Smoller is “…helping [NACMA] form a new strategic plan with a focus on three areas that are vital in college athletics: revenue generation, fan development and brand management” (Smith, 2016, p. 3). The value proposition for NACMA clients is both clear and compelling, as McCarville & Stinson (2014) suggest it should be. By creating this detailed plan for the client (assuming its proper execution), creation of value for the brand is achieved.

Smoller demonstrates knowledge of effective leveraging activities by using the knowledge that “build[ing] emotional connections between your product and clients” increases value (McCarville & Stinson, 2014, p. 58). Smoller said, “We’re all trying to make that connection with the fan throughout the year… So we keep them updated on things like the basketball team’s trip to Italy…” (Smith, 2016, p. 3). By allowing the fans insight into what the team is doing both on and off the court, a relationship, even commitment, develops. Furthermore, a genuine connection between the organization and fan is established. Smoller is validating McCarville & Stinson’s (2014) idea that as a sport marketer, she must continually be looking for ways to create and support a connection between the sport product and the client.

Smoller continues to make good use of leveraging activities by suggesting offering a free pre-game concert in the student tailgate area at the start of a game. Smoller stated, “Students like free stuff… Now that we’re getting this information, we need to apply it with, for example, a pregame concert in the student tailgate area” (Smith, 2016, p. 3). Providing memorable and profound experiences, like a free concert for students tailgating at the game, inherently adds value. McCarville & Stinson (2014) would agree with this notion as they state that a big part of sport’s success is reliant on its ability to give the consumer a memorable overall experience.

McCarville & Stinson (2014) provide that the concert in the tailgate area can also be a leveraging activity strategically designed to stagger the arrival to the stadium. This helps to alleviate the waiting time in lines. It is no secret that people generally do not like to wait in line. Creating activities to distract or prevent the fan from encountering this issue helps keep their stress levels low and their overall experience satisfactory. Not to mention, it’s also a plus for clients who will have the customer in their stadium for an extended period of time. These efforts contribute to the overall acquisition value.



McCarville, R., & Stinson, J. (2014). Creating value as part of sport marketing. In M. P. Pritchard & J. L. Stinson (Eds.), Leveraging brands in sport business (pp. 51-65). New York, NY: Routledge.

Smith, M. (2016, September 19). Plugged in: Joni Smoller, NACMA. SportsBusiness Journal, 19(23). Retrieved from

About Jessica Haley, University of San Francisco

Jessica Haley is a self-motivated and efficient leader with a skilled passion for connecting with others and cultivating lasting relationships. Ms. Haley possesses over 9 years of sports experience, 4 years of which she served as a youth sports coordinator for Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation. She is currently pursuing her Graduate degree in Sport Management at the University of San Francisco while working for the Golden State Warriors and the San Francisco 49ers. This is an edited version of a paper prepared for Dr. Michael M. Goldman’s Sport Marketing class at the University of San Francisco.

IImage by Ryan Schreiber, "K-State game", Accessed via Creative Commons license.